Amazon says it will 'do no harm' to Goodreads after acquisition


When news broke earlier today that Amazon would be acquiring Goodreads, many users of the social reading site were worried that it might spark unwanted change. In a joint interview with PaidContent, however, both Goodreads CEO Otis Chandler and Amazon's VP of Kindle content Russ Grandinetti sought to assuage any fears. As Chandler previously alluded to, Grandinetti says that Goodreads won't go away, and will continue to operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary in a similar fashion to the Amazon-owned IMDB or Zappos.

"Our mentality here is to first do no harm."

In terms of what Amazon might be able to bring to the table, Chandler says that the most immediately exciting feature is the possibility of reading books in Goodreads directly with the Kindle Cloud Reader, explaining "we've never had a good book preview feature." There are no plans to merge user reviews between the two sites, but Chandler thinks it might make sense to use content from Amazon in situations where a book has no reviews on Goodreads. Grandinetti assures PaidContent that "our mentality here is to first do no harm" before considering integrating the services.

To that end, the public API will remain available — including the feed for Amazon competitor Kobo — and users will still be able to export their data from Goodreads. Chandler says that Goodreads will also "probably" continue to link to other retailers such as Barnes & Noble "if users really want those links." It might not please those worried that their personal reading data is now theoretically at the behest of Amazon, but it appears that the Goodreads experience is unlikely to change too dramatically on the surface.

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